Republican Senate Candidates Attack Obama and Bill Nelson on Jobs Plan
Around the State
With President Barack Obama calling for almost $450 billion in new federal spending as part of his jobs speech on Thursday night, Republicans in Florida and at the national level are looking to make it an issue in their effort to defeat incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012.
The National Republican Senate Committee is aiming to link Nelson, who is running for a third term in 2012, to the president and big government. Even before Obama’s speech on Thursday, the NRSC was firing away at the Democrat, noting that Florida's unemployment rate is still higher than the national average.
“When it comes to jobs, Floridians have been listening to the same empty promises from Bill Nelson and President Obama for the last several years,” said Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the NRSC, in a statement issued Thursday. “It’s painfully clear that Obama and Nelson’s liberal tax-spend-and-borrow economic agenda has failed to create the jobs they promised while driving our national debt to $14.6 trillion, and Nelson will continue to have a very difficult time explaining his failed jobs record to Florida voters.”
In his own statement, released late Thursday, Nelson praised Obama’s plan.
"I think the president did a good thing by making jobs expansion priority No. 1, and I think we can do more,” Nelson said. “For example, fixing the economy by straightening out the banking system so that it can loan to small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy in Florida. And by so doing, getting community banks to be able to lend to mom-and-pop firms to expand, it provides a lot more jobs. That’s critical to Florida.”
Republicans running in a crowded primary field looking to challenge Nelson in 2012 also weighed in on the president’s speech, releasing statements on Thursday night and Friday.
“President Obama spent weeks teasing his ‘jobs plan’ and tonight introduced the same fiscally irresponsible policies that have failed America over the past 31 months,” said former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, who is looking to head back to Washington. “Florida has nearly 11 percent unemployment, and all President Obama and Bill Nelson want to do is increase taxes and continue to spend money we don’t have. America has had enough of the Obama/Nelson big-spending agenda. To create jobs and get our economy back on track, Washington must carefully examine its spending priorities and reduce crushing federal regulations so small businesses can create jobs for Americans.”
Businessman Craig Miller, the former CEO of Ruth's Chris, also weighed in on the speech on Thursday night.
“Now, more than ever, it is clear that the president has no realistic job-creation agenda,” said Miller. “Tonight’s speech was the beginning of a re-election campaign, not the unveiling of a bold agenda to tackle unemployment and grow our economy again. Politicians like Bill Nelson and President Obama have failed the voters because they have no idea how sky-high tax rates and burdensome regulations handcuff the nation’s job creators. When our elected officials refuse to even acknowledge the root causes of our economic woes, no grand speech can suddenly make things better. It’s time for a new course, with new leaders who have spent their lives creating jobs and growing our economy. The voters of Florida have had enough of bad ideas, empty rhetoric and political stagecraft.”
Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner released a statement on Friday morning.
"Last night, President Obama had the opportunity to demonstrate the leadership that America desperately needs by proposing a realistic plan to create jobs and get our economy growing again,” Hasner said. “Instead, he proposed nearly $500 billion in deficit spending with no real explanation of how he plans to pay for it. After almost three years of broken promises and half-hearted 'pivots,' the American people had hoped this was the moment the president would rise above election-year politics and provide real solutions. Unfortunately, all we heard was a repackaging of his already failed policies that have led to the worst prolonged unemployment in America since the Great Depression.
"Americans aren't looking for Republicans to simply split the difference with Democrats; they are looking for honest and forthright leadership that isn't afraid to make the tough decisions,” Hasner added. “From true tax reform to eliminating job-killing regulatory burdens, to expanding domestic energy production, to repealing Obamacare -- these are the proven, common-sense ideas that will grow our economy and put people back to work. The American people deserve courageous leadership and once again President Obama failed to provide it."
Sunshine State News attempted to reach the campaign team of businessman and retired Army officer Mike McCalister on Friday but they did not respond.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859.